Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

Wealth Management and Succession Planning Attorneys
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This information provided by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

Who We Are

For over 40 years, large family-owned and closely held businesses, high net worth individuals, family offices, and tax-exempt organizations have sought out Waller's team of wealth management attorneys to provide practical tax, business, and estate and trust planning solutions.

What We Do

Waller's wealth management and succession planning attorneys work with high net worth individuals, closely-held companies, families, their family offices, private trust companies, and family-owned businesses, to structure their assets and ownership interests to ensure security and financial stability through sophisticated strategic planning vehicles. In special circumstances, we act as personal representatives or trustees, guaranteeing careful probate and estate trust administration. Pioneering the PTC, Richard Johnson, a partner at Waller, formed the first private trust company under Tennessee law and has been responsible for forming most of Tennessee's private trust companies. Richard led the Waller team in drafting new legislation updating Tennessee’s private trust company law, which greatly expanded the definition of a private trust company to make Tennessee’s private trust company statutes more attractive than those in other states. The updated law now provides the family the option to allow the family’s business to own the private trust company as a wholly owned subsidiary.  Also, the Waller team has migrated many trusts to Tennessee to new Tennessee PTCs.  The team also drafted legislation that was approved to provide for special purpose entities, a structure combining aspects of both private and public trust companies into a unique ownership structure.

Each year, the team works to review and to propose new trust legislation to keep Tennessee's trust code progressive and sophisticated.  

Who Needs Us?

> Family Offices > Private Trust Companies > Large Family-Owned and Closely Held businesses > High and Ultra High Net Worth Individuals

See the Glossary for definitions of these metrics.

This information provided by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

What core services do you provide for your average client profile?: 

Within the wealth management context, Waller provides advice and counsel related to both business decisions and family dynamics that are unique to high net and ultra high net worth families and individuals. Our clients seek guidance on a number of scenarios including: > New venture planning > Asset disposition > Family member or sibling disputes > Planning around a medical event > Private trust company formation and operation > Real property acquisition or disposition > Trust planning for family members incapable of managing the business.  We also help our clients with their family charitable foundations and perform services for large non-profit organizations. In addition to our wealth management services, Waller is a full-service law firm serving corporate and individual clients across the spectrum of legal needs including mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, dispute resolution, labor and employment, real estate, and government relations. We are particularly focused on serving the health care, the financial services, the real estate and the advanced manufacturing and technology industries.

What are your firm's mission,vision and values?: 

Clients say we understand their stresses; we make their issues our own. They may come because of one lawyer, but they stay for the firm. For our family office and wealth management clients, we especially value discretion, accessibility, responsiveness, sensitivity, and communication. We treat our clients as we would like to be treated ourselves.

How are your client teams structured to deliver services to their clients?: 

In general, client matters are staffed with a primary contact or responsible attorney, with a team of fellow partners, junior attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff supporting the matter as needed. In the wealth management and family office context, for example, one of our experienced partners would be the person with whom the client generally interacts, and, depending on the given client need, one of our estate planning, business services, or tax attorneys may be brought in to provide specific input. Working with Waller provides our clients the benefit of having a full-service firm available for consult on matters outside traditional wealth management or family office needs. In the event a litigation, real estate, labor and employment, etc. need arises, we can provide our clients with expert guidance in those areas with the confidence that they will be well served.

What are the top three characteristics that distinguish your firm the most from your competitors?: 

>Only Tennessee Firm ranked in Band 1 by Chambers High Net Worth Guide > Overall bench strength with 4 Chambers High Net Worth Guide Ranked Partners > Hands-on, personal attention

What communication methods have you used with your clients?: 

We customize our communication methods to best fit our clients' needs and schedules. We use any and all forms and methods of communicating with clients including video conferencing, audio conferencing, conference bridges, extranet sites and social media in addition to traditional email, voicemail, phone, etc.

We focus a great deal on social media.  Follow us on LinkedIn at:  Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP

What formal and informal client education programs does your company provide?: 

We customize educational programming to the needs of a given family. Our observation has been that programs open to the public or open to a group of family offices tend to be less effective because of the sensitive and confidential nature of the content. In order to really give our clients the benefit of an educational seminar or event, we offer them on an individual basis. This encourages frank conversation and open dialogues that will best suit the family's particular needs. We can provide these educational sessions both in person as well as remotely through video conferencing or other methods.

What are the credentials and qualifications of your firm management and staff?: 

All of our Tax attorneys have LL.M. degrees; many of our tax attorneys are members of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) as well as the American College of Tax Counsel

See the Glossary for definitions of these metrics.

This information provided by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis


Data as of: 
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Year Established: 


Size of business: 
267 Attorneys
Average client investable asset size: 
Range: $1M - $20B, some clients exceed the $100M and $1B thresholds
What are the primary generations your firm serves?: 
What percentage of your clients are ultra-high net worth?: 
Over 40% of our family office clients (or those to whom we provide family office business services) are ultra-high net worth clients.
What percentage of your clients are single-family offices?: 
See Footnote #1 Below
Do you offer governance services?: 
Total number of full-time employees: 
Do you offer services related to philanthropy?: 
Do you offer trustee services?: 
Number of office locations: 
1. Across the state of Tennessee, there are approximately 20 high net worth, single-family offices in operation. Waller represents 6 of those offices. 2. With regard to trustee services, Waller offers trustee services in the family office context only in very special circumstances, or through the private trust company platform available through our subsidiary, Tennessee Private Trust Services.

See the Glossary for definitions of these metrics.

FOX Knowledge Center Contributions: 

New IRS Coordinated High Wealth Audit

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A Comparison of State PTC Laws

Thursday, May 2, 2019


Richard A. Johnson


511 Union Street, Suite 2700
Nashville  Tennessee  37219
United States

Other Office Locations

Other Office Locations: 
Birmingham, Alabama; Austin, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee

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